The CS Press

Full contact, no pads

New rugby club comes to Cactus Shadows

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Full contact, no pads

Jo Breese, staff writer

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This year, a brand new rugby club, called the Black Mountain Lions, was formed for students in Cave Creek and Scottsdale. Coached by Jaco Van Rensburg, the club is open to high school students, and currently has members from Cactus Shadows, Horizon and Foothills.

“I believe the club will be successful. There are a lot of athletes around here that don’t play football or can’t get playing time in football, even soccer,” said Van Rensburg.

Rugby is    a full-contact sport that originated from Rugby, England. It started in the 1930s at Rugby School, where it was a popular pastime among the male students. It is played in Europe, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
Rugby has been common for years overseas, but recently, rugby clubs have been popping up all over the United States. As of 2016, USA Rugby had 125,000 members playing in 2,673 clubs. World Rugby claims that rugby is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. Recent research by Nielsen Sports shows that over 33 million people in the U.S. are interested in rugby.

Rugby is similar to football, but is a much older sport and very different from its American cousin. For example, players do not wear pads, and the games take a lot longer.

“From how I see it in football, is you have helmet, shoulder pads, leg pads, everything and in Rugby, it’s just the shirt on your back and your shorts and your shoes,” said Teddy Harrington, a junior member of the team.

Jaco Van Rensburg, the coach, is originally from South Africa, and started playing rugby when he was six years old. He moved here in 2002 from the U.K. where he played professionally for two years. He loves to play and coach rugby because of the discipline and the teamwork needed to be successful, but he also just likes it because he thinks it is fun.

“I’ve coached and I’ve refereed rugby,” said Van Rensburg. “So I’ve got a lot of experience.”

Rugby can scratch a certain itch for people who find other sports lacking in what they want to do. A lot of athletes come from other sports like football, soccer, and baseball, to join rugby.
“I’ve played football, I’ve played almost every sport, but this one is the one I feel like I can excel at the most. It is a lot more about conditioning, agility,” said William Guymon, a junior team member.
The club has only twelve people in it so far, but they expect it to grow fast. The main goal is to bring rugby into Cave Creek and get more people to start playing the sport. Right now, the club’s league is run by USA Rugby.
The club meets from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Dynamite Park. They are working on fliers to get more information out to interested students.

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Full contact, no pads